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Try to stay positive during the holidays

The pace of the holidays is starting to speed up.

Some people revel in the spirit of the holidays, humming Christmas songs as they go about the holiday preparations.

Throw in a whole new set of concerns brought about as some people are still struggling to recover from the loneliness and lack of social interaction that was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s easy to see how those who already are stressed can feel a little overwhelmed at the holidays.

The constant hustle and bustle of the holidays can dim the holiday spirit this time of the year, but mental health professionals have tips to keep stress and depression to a minimum.

The holidays can be a sad time if you have lost a loved one during the past year, especially for senior citizens. Professionals agree it is OK to take time to grieve, have a good cry and feel sad. Don’t feel pressure to be happy — it will only make you feel worse. Look for a positive way to remember a loved one.

Take the holidays in stride and don’t live by someone else’s expectations.

If you feel lonely, seek out ways you can help in your community. Even with pandemic restrictions in place, there are opportunities to volunteer.

Friends and family need to recognize those who are going through tough times and try to offer emotional support. Talk can be the best medicine for those who are feeling down.

Also, remember what makes you sad at this time and avoid those triggers.

Family differences can bring on stress at the holidays. Try to set aside differences during the holidays. Continuing a fight at the holidays can make coping with stress and depression even harder and also can spoil the holidays for others.

If you’re newly divorced, the holidays may remind you of happier times and result in making you feel down. It’s especially difficult for adult children of divorce who have to balance visiting two sets of parents.

Money problems can be made better by setting a budget for how much will be spent on gifts. It isn’t the cost, it is the thought.

Pace your activities during the holidays. Don’t let the stress of what you think has to be done become overwhelming. Don’t allow the quest for perfection to wear you down.

Staying physically healthy during the holidays also can be a challenge. Stress can lead to illness. Taking a walk or getting some indoor exercise can go a long way to alleviating stress. Make sure you get enough sleep. Avoid overeating and drinking.

Take time for yourself. That small break is a great way to refresh yourself physically and mentally.

Even following all the suggestions of mental health specialists may not be enough. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help.

Try to stay positive this holiday season.

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